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Arts
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Visual Arts

Ancient Art Podcast, Ancient Worlds

Updated 6 days ago

Arts
Society & Culture
Visual Arts
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Ancient Worlds is the audio series of the Ancient Art Podcast where we choose a single work of art as a launchpad for inspiration. Here we unpack the stories, history, myths, and culture from antiquity through a modern lens and with tongue firmly planted in cheek. The Ancient Art Podcast explores the art and culture of the Ancient Mediterranean World with host Lucas Livingston. Uncover the truths and unravel the mysteries of the civilizations that shaped our modern world. Each episode features detailed examinations of exemplary works from the Art Institute of Chicago and other notable collections in addition to broad themes and concepts of Ancient Mediterranean art and culture.

Read more

Ancient Worlds is the audio series of the Ancient Art Podcast where we choose a single work of art as a launchpad for inspiration. Here we unpack the stories, history, myths, and culture from antiquity through a modern lens and with tongue firmly planted in cheek. The Ancient Art Podcast explores the art and culture of the Ancient Mediterranean World with host Lucas Livingston. Uncover the truths and unravel the mysteries of the civilizations that shaped our modern world. Each episode features detailed examinations of exemplary works from the Art Institute of Chicago and other notable collections in addition to broad themes and concepts of Ancient Mediterranean art and culture.

iTunes Ratings

24 Ratings
Average Ratings
19
1
1
0
3

Ancient Art Podcast

By AWash29 - Jun 29 2012
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This podcast is remarkable for its clarity of narrative and for the visual content. Thank you for sharing your knowledge !

Great material

By e in chi - Oct 20 2010
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These podcasts were a great find. The narrator makes each discussion engaging through both voice and presentation. So happy to find them as they'll make a great addition to my Non-Western Art History course. Plus their a breath of fresh air next to typical class lectures. Thanks AAP!

iTunes Ratings

24 Ratings
Average Ratings
19
1
1
0
3

Ancient Art Podcast

By AWash29 - Jun 29 2012
Read more
This podcast is remarkable for its clarity of narrative and for the visual content. Thank you for sharing your knowledge !

Great material

By e in chi - Oct 20 2010
Read more
These podcasts were a great find. The narrator makes each discussion engaging through both voice and presentation. So happy to find them as they'll make a great addition to my Non-Western Art History course. Plus their a breath of fresh air next to typical class lectures. Thanks AAP!

Listen to:

Cover image of Ancient Art Podcast, Ancient Worlds

Ancient Art Podcast, Ancient Worlds

Updated 6 days ago

Read more

Ancient Worlds is the audio series of the Ancient Art Podcast where we choose a single work of art as a launchpad for inspiration. Here we unpack the stories, history, myths, and culture from antiquity through a modern lens and with tongue firmly planted in cheek. The Ancient Art Podcast explores the art and culture of the Ancient Mediterranean World with host Lucas Livingston. Uncover the truths and unravel the mysteries of the civilizations that shaped our modern world. Each episode features detailed examinations of exemplary works from the Art Institute of Chicago and other notable collections in addition to broad themes and concepts of Ancient Mediterranean art and culture.

26 (HD): Aphrodite of Knidos

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Keeping our promise from last episode, episode 26 explores the history, artistry, and mythology of the famous Hellenistic sculpture, the Aphrodite of Knidos by Praxiteles. Using the words of ancient authors like Hesiod, Pliny the Elder, and others, we examine multiple copies of the sculpture, including the Vatican’s Colonna Venus, the Uffizi’s Venus de' Medici, the Aphrodite Braschi of the Munich Glyptothek, and an example from the Art Institute of Chicago. We also expose the misnomer of the Roman “copy” of an original Greek sculpture. And we’ll round things out with some modern revisionist theories on the sexuality of Aphrodite.

Nov 29 2009

9mins

Play

29 (iPod): Karnak

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The first of at least two parts, episode 29 invites us inside one of the world's most ancient, largest, and most mysterious sacred space, the Ancient Egyptian Temple of Karnak. Including video and photo highlights from the host's recent visit to Karnak, we take a survey of the temple complex, it's satellite precincts, layout, and orientation. Over the course of the "Karnak" series of episodes, we'll look closely at the architecture and history, the different divinities and their festivals celebrated at the site, and the symbolism and function of Ancient Egyptian temples in general. See past episodes, image galleries, credits, transcripts, and additional resources at http://ancientartpodcast.org. Connect at http://twitter.com/lucaslivingston and http://facebook.ancientartpodcast.org/.

Apr 17 2010

9mins

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44 (HD): Top 10 Myths: Egyptian Civilization is Dead

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Episode 44 of the Ancient Art Podcast concludes the countdown of the Top 10 Ancient Egyptian Myths and Misconceptions with the false belief that Ancient Egyptian civilization is dead. Scarcely recognized around us in its present form, the legacy of Ancient Egypt continues to thrive. In pyramids and tombstones, icons and cupids, chemistry and alchemy, Ancient Egyptian civilization lives on in our art, language, architecture, and religion. Visit http://www.ancientartpodcast.org/top10 for the complete Top 10 list. Explore more episodes, image galleries, credits, transcripts, and additional resources at http://ancientartpodcast.org. Connect at http://twitter.com/lucaslivingston and http://facebook.com/ancientartpodcast.

Nov 06 2011

10mins

Play

30 (iPod): Karnak II

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Part 2 in our miniseries on Karnak Temple, episode 30 takes us behind the scenes, exploring the grand hypostyle hall and the meaning to the propagandistic and sacred imagery on the walls, both inside and out. We reenact one of the most famous Ancient Egyptian temples, the Opet Festival, following the sacred barque of Amun through the precinct and along the Avenue of Sphinxes. We wrap up with an investigation of the symbolism and spiritual function of Ancient Egyptian temple architecture as a vehicle for celebrating the creation of the universe. See past episodes, image galleries, credits, transcripts, and additional resources at http://ancientartpodcast.org. Connect at http://twitter.com/lucaslivingston and http://facebook.ancientartpodcast.org/.

May 22 2010

10mins

Play

Boli Ritual Object - Meaningful Materials (79)

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ancientartpodcast.org/79

How do artists' choices of materials assign identity and meaning to works of art? How does meaning assign material? In this excerpt from one of my museum tours, I explore the meaningful materials in a Boli Ritual Object of the Bamana people in Mali, Africa. This recording comes complete with all the juicy, unscripted, live-action museum gallery accents including background chatter and beeping proximity alarms.

Permanent collection label:
Bamana sculpture often functions as a mediating force between the spirit and human realms. Ritual objects, such as this amorphously shaped boli, are commissioned and cared for by age-grade associations. A boli has a wood core wrapped with cotton cloth, into which spiritually charged packets are bound. Sacrificial materials, including animal blood and grains, are applied to its surface, giving it a crusty exterior. These sacrifices symbolize the layering of secret knowledge, imbuing the boli with nyama (life force). A boli is stored with other sacred objects in a shrine house and may only be seen by members of the association to which it belongs.

Image:
Ritual Object (Boli)
Bamana, Mali
Mid-19th/early 20th century
Wood, cloth, mud, and sacrificial material
H. 43.8 cm (17 1/4 in.)
Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harold X. Weinstein, 1961.1177

Connect:
http://itunes.com/podcast?id=205535627
http://ancientartpodcast.org/feedback
info@ancientartpodcast.org
http://facebook.com/ancientartpodcast
http://youtube.com/SCARABsolutions
http://twitter.com/lucaslivingston

May 19 2017

3mins

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49 (iPod): Ancient Dragons

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Episode 49 of the Ancient Art Podcast explores the ancient legends and origins of dragons, separating fact from fiction and good from evil. Dragons permeate our cultural heritage in many forms and fashions: as ferocious fire-breathing, flesh-eating monsters, noble emblems of honor, and peace-loving creatures of earth, air, and water. From the salty depths of the Mediterranean, across the sun-scorched deserts of Central Asia, to the misty mountains of China and Japan, where do dragons first take root? What are the ancient sources for our modern legends? Pack your bags, buy your spell components, and polish your long sword, because we're going dragon hunting! Explore more episodes, image galleries, credits, transcripts, and additional resources at http://ancientartpodcast.org. Connect at http://twitter.com/lucaslivingston and http://facebook.com/ancientartpodcast.

Apr 25 2012

16mins

Play

49 (HD): Ancient Dragons

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Episode 49 of the Ancient Art Podcast explores the ancient legends and origins of dragons, separating fact from fiction and good from evil. Dragons permeate our cultural heritage in many forms and fashions: as ferocious fire-breathing, flesh-eating monsters, noble emblems of honor, and peace-loving creatures of earth, air, and water. From the salty depths of the Mediterranean, across the sun-scorched deserts of Central Asia, to the misty mountains of China and Japan, where do dragons first take root? What are the ancient sources for our modern legends? Pack your bags, buy your spell components, and polish your long sword, because we're going dragon hunting! Explore more episodes, image galleries, credits, transcripts, and additional resources at http://ancientartpodcast.org. Connect at http://twitter.com/lucaslivingston and http://facebook.com/ancientartpodcast.

Apr 23 2012

16mins

Play

54 (HD): Krampus the Christmas Devil

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He's knows when you are sleeping.
He knows when you're awake.
He knows when you've been bad or good,
So be good, for YOUR LIFE'S AT STAKE!

Who's that hiding behind Santa's jolly mask? Episode 54 of the Ancient Art Podcast takes a holiday to the Austrian Alps to discover the true meaning of Christmas and meet Santa's various spooky, sooty sidekicks! We lift the lid on the mysterious, fur-clad, horned, Yuletide devil, Krampus, exploring his origin in pagan myths, history throughout the ages, and modern permutations. We'll cross the globe to root out the tongue-lashing demon, and risk his whip's wrath in the Krampuslauf. Also meet jolly ole Saint Nick's other companions, including the Nordic Yule Goat, Belgium and the Netherlands' Black Peter (Zwarte Piet), the German Knecht Ruprecht, and Belsnickel/Pelznikel. And we thought keeping Santa's reindeer straight was hard enough! So, dive in and enjoy this spectacular nightmare before Christmas! Discover more at http://ancientartpodcast.org/krampus. Connect at http://twitter.com/lucaslivingston and http://facebook.com/ancientartpodcast.

Dec 02 2012

9mins

Play

51 (iPod): Beer in Ancient Egypt

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Episode 51 of the Ancient Art Podcast explores the art, culture, history, and mythology surrounding beer in Ancient Egypt. We'll look at the archaeological record to sort fact from fiction on the brewing process and dig up some modern attempts at recreating the ancient recipes for Egyptian beer. Chemical analysis of ancient beer residue paints a telling picture as funerary art and literary sources flesh out culture of some of the world's earliest brewers. Included in episode 51 are discussions of modern versus ancient brewing ingredients and techniques, Patrick McGovern's "Uncorking the Past," Dogfish Head's Ta Henket beer, the research of Delwen Samuel, the ancient "zeer pot" refrigerator (or nested pot-in-pot fridge), and the myth of the lioness goddess Sekhmet. See the footnotes at http://ancientartpodcast.org/blog/51. Explore more episodes, image galleries, credits, transcripts, and additional resources at http://ancientartpodcast.org. Connect at http://twitter.com/lucaslivingston and http://facebook.com/ancientartpodcast.

Sep 01 2012

13mins

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47 (iPod): Roman Fasces

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Just how much can we discuss about a pile of wood? Well, episode 47 of the Ancient Art Podcast about the "Roman Fasces" dares to find out! Composed of a bundle of rods with an axe blade sticking out, this ancient symbol of solidarity and judicial authority was a very recognizable sight in Ancient Rome. We explore the symbolism of the fasces, its different makes and models, where it came from and where it went. The fasces remains highly popular today on military and political crests, emblems, and shields across the world. We'll also be introduced to some good Roman citizens, whose careers crossed paths with the fasces, including lictor bodyguards, flamen priests, and magistrates. Explore more episodes, image galleries, credits, transcripts, and additional resources at http://ancientartpodcast.org. Connect at http://twitter.com/lucaslivingston and http://facebook.com/ancientartpodcast.

Feb 13 2012

8mins

Play

25 (iPod): Beheaded Beauties

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iPod version. For HD video visit ancientartpodcast.org. With a nod to the Art Institute of Chicago’s October self-guide and celebrating the Halloween season, episode 25 explores a few headless and disembodied works of art, including the humorous, the grotesque, and the just plain practical. We compare a Roman statue of a seated woman to its Classical Greek antecedents and explore one very logical explanation for why so many Roman statues are missing their heads and arms.

Oct 25 2009

8mins

Play

50 (HD): Images of Buddha

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In some Buddhist traditions, people are encouraged to devote 100,000 miniature stupas, pagodas, or idols of Buddha as an act of extreme piety. Well, I'm not that pious. We celebrate 50 episodes of the Ancient Art Podcast with 50 images of Buddha. Enjoy this feast for the eyes of magnificent Buddhist treasures from the southern tip of India to the snowy peaks of the Himalayas, from the lush Southeast Asian tropics, stately caves of China, and serene bamboo groves of Japan. Explore more episodes, image galleries, credits, transcripts, and additional resources at http://ancientartpodcast.org. Connect at http://twitter.com/lucaslivingston and http://facebook.com/ancientartpodcast.

May 30 2012

5mins

Play

54 (iPod): Krampus the Christmas Devil

Podcast cover
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He's knows when you are sleeping.
He knows when you're awake.
He knows when you've been bad or good,
So be good, for YOUR LIFE'S AT STAKE!

Who's that hiding behind Santa's jolly mask? Episode 54 of the Ancient Art Podcast takes a holiday to the Austrian Alps to discover the true meaning of Christmas and meet Santa's various spooky, sooty sidekicks! We lift the lid on the mysterious, fur-clad, horned, Yuletide devil, Krampus, exploring his origin in pagan myths, history throughout the ages, and modern permutations. We'll cross the globe to root out the tongue-lashing demon, and risk his whip's wrath in the Krampuslauf. Also meet jolly ole Saint Nick's other companions, including the Nordic Yule Goat, Belgium and the Netherlands' Black Peter (Zwarte Piet), the German Knecht Ruprecht, and Belsnickel/Pelznikel. And we thought keeping Santa's reindeer straight was hard enough! So, dive in and enjoy this spectacular nightmare before Christmas! Discover more at http://ancientartpodcast.org/krampus. Connect at http://twitter.com/lucaslivingston and http://facebook.com/ancientartpodcast.

Dec 12 2012

9mins

Play

27.1 (HD) Announcement

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A short announcement about the new look and features of the Ancient Art Podcast website. Plus the debut of the Ancient Art Podcast Facebook Page! Explore more at http://ancientartpodcast.org.

Jan 17 2010

2mins

Play

Etruscan Gigantomachy, Gods vs Giants - Coloring the Past (74)

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ancientartpodcast.org/74

We examine the use of color in ancient art to designate role, status, nature, and more, and discuss causes for the disappearance of polychromy in ancient art. Side note: Why does the Egyptian God Osiris sometimes appear with black skin and sometimes with green skin? Names dropped: Zeus, Athena, Olympians, Giants, Gaia, Osiris. This is an excerpt from my gallery talk "Coloring the Past" in the Art Institute of Chicago from March 9, 2017. This recording comes complete with all the juicy, unscripted, live-action museum gallery accents of noisy kids, beeping proximity alarms, and echoing reverb. Please forgive the poor sound quality.

Gallery Talk: Coloring the Past (American Sign Language-interpreted)
Art Institute of Chicago
March 9, 2017
"How does our modern lens shape the way we see ancient works of art? Explore the use, meaning, and manufacture of color in ancient art with museum educator Lucas Livingston. This gallery talk will be interpreted in American Sign Language."

Image:
Architectural Relief Showing Gigantomachy (Battle Between Gods and Giants)
Etruscan, 3rd-2nd century BC
terracotta & pigment
Art Institute of Chicago, 1984.2

Connect:
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facebook.com/ancientartpodcast
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Apr 07 2017

6mins

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33 (HD): Ganesha

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Learn all about the beloved elephant-headed Hindu deity Ganesha in episode 33 of the Ancient Art Podcast. We explore the annual festival celebrating his birth, Ganesha Chaturthi, and discover how he happened to get that elephant head. Plus we investigate why, oh, why he’s missing a tusk! We look closely at a few magnificent sculptures of Ganesha at the Art Institute of Chicago and conclude with an exploration of the contemporary art installation Public Notice 3 by Jitish Kallat on view through January 2, 2011, which juxtaposes Swami Vivekananda’s September 11, 1893 speech in Chicago on religious tolerance with the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. See all episodes, image galleries, credits, transcripts, and additional resources at http://ancientartpodcast.org. Connect at http://twitter.com/lucaslivingston and http://www.facebook.com/ancientartpodcast.

Sep 30 2010

10mins

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Birth of Dionysus (84)

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http://ancientartpodcast.org/84

Diving head first into the many myths of the celebrated god of wine, ecstasy, theater, and madness, episode 84 of the Ancient Art Podcast's Ancient Worlds series explores The Birth of Dionysus. Drawing inspiration from the famed sculpture Hermes and the Infant Dionysus, we explore the wine god's parentage, his mother Semele's tragic fate, and the curious case of the twice-born god. Names dropped: Zeus, Semele, Hera, Hermes, Cadmus, Harmonia, Europa, Ovid, Hyginus, Pseudo-Apollodorus, Diodorus Siculus, Pausanias, Praxiteles, Rhys Carpenter

Features Work of Art:

Hermes and the Infant Dionysus
Roman-era, 2nd century after an original by Praxiteles, 4th century BC, Greece
Archaeological Museum of Olympia

Music:

Colocate by Podington Bear

Nova by Go Ask Alice from the album Perfection is Terrible

The Shout by Go Ask Alice from the album Perfection is Terrible

Lightfeet by Podington Bear

Connect:
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http://ancientartpodcast.org/feedback
info@ancientartpodcast.org
http://facebook.com/ancientartpodcast
http://youtube.com/SCARABsolutions
http://twitter.com/lucaslivingston

Sep 16 2017

16mins

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53 (iPod): Medusa, Mythic Monster

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In this spooktacular Halloween episode of the Ancient Art Podcast with monstrous fiends and tortured souls lurking about in dark shadows, we explore a mythic monster from the Classical world, the original femme-fatale, the slithering seductress, the Gorgon Medusa. From ancient poets Hesiod and Ovid, we discover the lineage, background, and tragic curse that damned this poor maiden, and reveal her "children," winged Pegasus and Chrysaor. We reveal the changing face of the obscured demoness in the history of ancient art, and discuss into the possible origins and influences that conjured such a fiend in the minds of the ancient Greeks. Do you dare meet Medusa's petrifying gaze in episode 53 of the Ancient Art Podcast!? Also included: Clash of the Titans, Perseus, Poseidon, Athena, Geryon, Wadjet, Eye of Horus, Pindar, Theogony. Explore the image gallery, credits, transcript, and more at http://ancientartpodcast.org/episode53. Connect at http://twitter.com/lucaslivingston and http://facebook.com/ancientartpodcast.

Nov 03 2012

9mins

Play

46 (HD): Ara Pacis

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Episode 46 of the Ancient Art Podcast takes us in and out and around one of the most magnificent works of imperial Roman architecture, the Ara Pacis Augustae, of the Altar of Augustan Peace. We'll explore how the Ara Pacis weaves together images from Rome's legendary past and 1st century BC present to paint a picture of a new Golden Age era of peace and prosperity under the reign of Augustus Caesar. We also discuss the ongoing difficulty and debate in identifying some of the scenes and figures decorating the altar, and discover a breathtaking light show recreating how the Ara Pacis was meant to be seen, in vivid color! Explore more episodes, image galleries, credits, transcripts, and additional resources at http://ancientartpodcast.org. Connect at http://twitter.com/lucaslivingston and http://facebook.com/ancientartpodcast.

Dec 31 2011

12mins

Play

Black Figure vs Red Figure Ancient Greek Vase Painting Techniques (76)

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ancientartpodcast.org/76

In this excerpt from one of my museum tours, I discuss the techniques of Greek vase painting and the differences between the black-figure and red-figure styles. We also dip a toe into some Greek history, talk about the names of Greek vase painters, artists signing their works, and compare Greek vase painters to the French Impressionists. This recording comes complete with all the juicy, unscripted, live-action museum gallery accents including background chatter, construction noises, and beeping proximity alarms.

Images:
Black-figure Belly-Amphora (Storage Jar) Showing Herakles Wrestling the Nemean Lion
Attributed to the Painter of Berlin 1686 or the Painter of Tarquinia RC 3984
Greek, Athens
c. 550-540 B.C.
Art Institute of Chicago, 1978.114

Hydria (Water Jar)
Attributed to The Leningrad Painter
Greek, Athens
c. 470/460 B.C.
Art Institute of Chicago, 1911.456

Connect:
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info@ancientartpodcast.org
http://facebook.com/ancientartpodcast
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http://twitter.com/lucaslivingston

Apr 22 2017

10mins

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Japanese Ukiyo-e Pictures of the Floating World (91)

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http://ancientartpodcast.org/91

In this excerpt from my lecture on the Art Institute's recent special exhibition Painting the Floating World: Ukiyo-e Masterpieces from the Weston Collection, I set the stage for what was Japan's Floating World culture during the Edo Period of the Tokugawa Shogunate, 1615-1868. We touch on the origin of the term, the cultural climate in which it rose the popularity, and how the floating world psyche was expressed in Japan's visual arts at the time.

Image:

Hishikawa Moronobu
Flower-Viewing Party with Crest-Bearing Curtain, from the series Flower Viewing at Ueno
Japanese, 1676–1689
Art Institute of Chicago, 1925.1689

Connect:
Donate to the Ancient Art Podcast
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info@ancientartpodcast.org
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http://twitter.com/lucaslivingston

Jan 30 2019

6mins

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Dionysus and the Pirates, the Dionysus Cup by Exekias (90)

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http://ancientartpodcast.org/90

In yet another nod to alcoholic inebriation's polymorphic magical potency, we encounter one of my favorite tales of the god of wine, ecstasy, reverie, and madness ... Dionysus. Here we learn the tale of Dionysus versus the Pirates as originally recounted in Homeric Hymn number 7 and alluded to on the exquisite black-figure "Dionysus Cup" kylix by the master painter and potter Exekias.

For detailed credits, visit http://ancientartpodcast.org/90.

Featured Work of Art:

The so-called Dionysus Cup
Exekias, ca. 540/530 BC
Attic black-figure kylix; from Vulci
Munchen Staatliche Antikensammlungen
Photo by Matthias Kabel, wikimedia

Music:

Brave Pirates
By fri.events Orchestra
Licensed under Creative Commons
freemusicarchive.org

The Precession of the Equinoxes in the Inverted Alps
By Azureflux
Licensed under Creative Commons
freemusicarchive.org

I Dunno
By grapes
Featuring J Lang, Morusque
Licensed under Creative Commons
ccmixter.org

Pirates
By Jack and the Pulpits
Licensed under Creative Commons
freemusicarchive.org

Connect:
Donate to the Ancient Art Podcast
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http://twitter.com/lucaslivingston

Jul 19 2018

9mins

Play

Adventures of Ulysses in an Italian Renaissance Hope Chest (89)

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http://ancientartpodcast.org/89

In this excerpt from a recent tour, I explore some of the highlights from Homer's Odyssey in a 15th century Florentine painting and learn a little about Italian Renaissance marriage and fidelity. Names and terms dropped: Homer, Odysseus, Penelope, Nausica, cyclops, Polyphemus, the Sirens, Hermes, moly, Circe, Calypso, Argos, Apollonio di Giovanni, James Joyce, Trojan War, Tuscan, gilding; important terms not dropped: cassone.

For images of the featured work of art, visit http://ancientartpodcast.org/89.

Featured Work of Art:

Apollonio di Giovanni
Italian, 1415/17-1465
The Adventures of Ulysses, 1435/45
42 x 131.7 cm (16 3/4 x 51 7/8 in.)
Art Institute of Chicago, 1933.1006

Connect:
Donate to the Ancient Art Podcast
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http://twitter.com/lucaslivingston

Jan 14 2018

9mins

Play

Tibetan Mandalas (88)

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http://ancientartpodcast.org/88

In this short excerpt from my lecture on Tibetan Buddhist art, we skim the surface of the spiritual meaning, function, and structure of Tibetan mandalas.

For images of the featured works of art, visit http://ancientartpodcast.org/88.

Featured Works of Art:

Drepung Gomang Monastery
Mandala of World Peace
September 21, 2014
Miller Beach, Indiana
Photo by Lucas Livingston, ancientartpodcast.org/88

Arjia Rinpoche
Architectural Model of the Kalachakra Mandala
researchdtmack.com/mandalas.html

Tibet
Mandala
18th/19th century
Opaque watercolor and gold on cotton and wood
35.2 x 35.2 x 5.4 cm
The James W. and Marilynn Alsdorf Collection (151.1996)
From Pal, Pratapaditya, A Collecting Odyssey, 1997, fig. 210.

Tibet
Mandala
18th/19th century
Opaque watercolor and gold on wood
26.7 x 26.7 x 12.8 cm (10 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 5 in)
The James W. and Marilynn Alsdorf Collection (150.1996)

Gallery label: Mandala, literally meaning "circle," is a diagram of the spiritual universe that is used as a meditational device. The circle encloses a sacred area, into which the devotee enters via meditation. The only figures shown in this abstract mandala are the demons who inhabit the charnel ground within the circle of flames. The central hexagon is a yantra (a meditation device) that symbolizes the combination of masculine and feminine aspects, shown as two overlapping triangles. Their union induces cosmic harmony. A circle connects the points of the hexagon, symbolizing the unification of the souls of everything living and divine.

Connect:
Donate to the Ancient Art Podcast
http://itunes.com/podcast?id=205535627
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info@ancientartpodcast.org
http://facebook.com/ancientartpodcast
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http://twitter.com/lucaslivingston

Dec 22 2017

8mins

Play

Circe and Witchcraft in Ancient Greece (87)

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http://ancientartpodcast.org/87

This is a short excerpt from my lecture "Things That Go Bump: A Visual Survey of Witches, Demons, and Ghosts." Herein we explore the ancient Greek tradition of witchcraft and metamorphosis in two images — one ancient and one modern — of Circe, the definitive witch of Grecian lore and seductive sorceress of Odyssean fame. Waterhouse masterfully betrays her jealous cruelty in those cold, dark, uncaring eyes. Vying for the affection of a handsome lover, the hateful witch Circe poisons the placid pool where the her rival Scylla bathed. Circe's potion of polymorphism transforms the beautiful nymph Scylla to the proverbial "hard place," the loathsome multi-mawed many-tentacled monster, who'd dash the hopes (...and heads) of Odysseus's men sailing "between Scylla and Charybdis." And in the Grecian cup in the MFA, we see a magical elixir similarly perched in wicked Circe's hands while Odysseus's men are in the midst of metamorphosis from her arcane magicks.

For images of the featured works of art, visit http://ancientartpodcast.org/87.

Featured Works of Art:

John William Waterhouse
Circe Invidiosa (Jealous Circe), 1892
South Australian Government Grant 1892
Art Gallery of South Australia

Drinking cup (kylix) depicting scenes from the Odyssey
Greek, Archaic Period, about 560-550 BC
The Painter of the Boston Polyphemos
© Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (99.518)

Connect:
Donate to the Ancient Art Podcast
http://itunes.com/podcast?id=205535627
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Nov 17 2017

3mins

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Goya's Caprices and the Wicked Witch of the West (86)

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Happy Halloween! In this very brief excerpt from my lecture "Things That Go Bump: A Visual Survey of Witches, Demons, and Ghosts," we introduce Goya's 1797/99 published volume The Caprices (Los Caprichos). This tome of nightmares, witches, and devils satirizes human vice and intolerance of late 18th century Spanish society through the demons born of religion and power. We conclude with a brief glimpse at our modern icon of the Wicked Witch through the lens of art history and tradition. For greater depth, background, and context, watch episode 59, A Witches' Sabbath.

For images of the featured works of art, visit http://ancientartpodcast.org/86.

Featured Work of Art:

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish, 1746-1828)
"The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters," plate 43
"When Day Breaks We Will Be Off," plate 71
"Pretty Teacher!" Plate 68
From Los Caprichos, 1797/99
(Museo Nacional del Prado)

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Nov 01 2017

2mins

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Odysseus Journeys to the Underworld (85)

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A very brief excerpt from my lecture "Things That Go Bump: A Visual Survey of Witches, Demons, and Ghosts!" Odysseus Journeys to the Underworld and holds a seance with the souls of Hades through necromantic blood magic so the countless shades of the dead and the gone would surge around him.

Featured Work of Art:

Jar (pelike) with Odysseus and Elpenor in the Underworld
Greece, Athens, Classical, about 440 BC
The Lykaon Painter
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (34.79)

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Oct 25 2017

2mins

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Birth of Dionysus (84)

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Diving head first into the many myths of the celebrated god of wine, ecstasy, theater, and madness, episode 84 of the Ancient Art Podcast's Ancient Worlds series explores The Birth of Dionysus. Drawing inspiration from the famed sculpture Hermes and the Infant Dionysus, we explore the wine god's parentage, his mother Semele's tragic fate, and the curious case of the twice-born god. Names dropped: Zeus, Semele, Hera, Hermes, Cadmus, Harmonia, Europa, Ovid, Hyginus, Pseudo-Apollodorus, Diodorus Siculus, Pausanias, Praxiteles, Rhys Carpenter

Features Work of Art:

Hermes and the Infant Dionysus
Roman-era, 2nd century after an original by Praxiteles, 4th century BC, Greece
Archaeological Museum of Olympia

Music:

Colocate by Podington Bear

Nova by Go Ask Alice from the album Perfection is Terrible

The Shout by Go Ask Alice from the album Perfection is Terrible

Lightfeet by Podington Bear

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Sep 16 2017

16mins

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Dragons and Tigers (83)

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In this excerpt from one of my museum tours, we walk through two starkly contrasting Japanese folding screens celebrating the time-honored, iconic subjects of dragons and tigers with exceptional energy and dynamism.

Features Works of Art:

Kishi Ganku (1749-1838)
Dragon and Tiger, 1835
Pair of six panel screens; ink and gold on paper
Art Institute of Chicago, 2016.314a-b

Morita Shiryu (1912-1998)
Dragon (Ryu), 1965
Four-panel screen; aluminum-flake pigment in polyvinyl acetate medium, and yellow alkyd varnish, on paper
Art Institute of Chicago, 1971.873

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Aug 17 2017

9mins

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Medicine Buddha Bhaishajyaguru - Meaningful Materials (82)

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How do artists' choices of materials assign identity and meaning to works of art? How does meaning assign material? In this excerpt from one of my museum tours, I explore the meaningful material of the semi-precious blue stone lapis lazuli in a Tibetan painted banner (thangka) of the Buddha of medicine and healing, Bhaishajyaguru.

Features Works of Art:

Painted Banner (Thangka) with the Medicine Buddha (Bhaishajyaguru)
Central Tibet, 14th century
Pigment and gold on cotton
104 x 82.7 cm (41 x 32 1/2 in.)
Art Institute of Chicago, 1996.29

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Jul 13 2017

5mins

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Chinese Jade - Meaningful Materials (81)

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How do artists' choices of materials assign identity and meaning to works of art? How does meaning assign material? In this excerpt from one of my museum tours, I explore the meaningful material of Chinese jade — its symbolic and medicinal value, function, materiality, artistry, and poetic inspiration.

Features Works of Art:

Dragon Pendants
Jade
China, Eastern Zhou dynasty
Warring States period (c.480-221 BC)
c. 4th/3rd century B.C.
9.2 x 16.8 x 0.7 cm (3 3/5 x 6 3/5 x 3/10 in.)
8.6 x 16.5 x 0.6 cm. (6-1/2 x 3-3/8 x 1/4 in.)
Art Institute of Chicago, 1950.640
Art Institute of Chicago, 1950.641

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Jun 30 2017

5mins

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Incan Gold and Chicha Beer - Meaningful Materials (80)

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How do artists' choices of materials assign identity and meaning to works of art? How does meaning assign material? In this excerpt from one of my museum tours, I explore the meaningful material of gold in Incan art and culture. We also discuss the traditional Andean corn beer called "chicha."

Features Works of Art:

Beaker
Inca, Ica Valley, south coast, Peru
Late 15th/early 16th century
Gold
16.5 x 6.4 cm (6 1/2 x 2 1/2 in.)
Art Institute of Chicago, Kate S. Buckingham Endowment, 1955.2587

Pair of Beakers Depicting Birds in a Cornfield
Inca, Ica Valley, south coast, Peru
A.D. 1100/1438
Gold
Each 7 x 7.3 cm (2 3/4 x 2 7/8 in.)
Art Institute of Chicago, Kate S. Buckingham Endowment, 1955.2589 a-b

Ceremonial Vessel (Aryballos)
Inca, Probably vicinity of Cuzco, Peru
1400/1532
Ceramic and pigment
78 x 49 cm (30 3/4 x 19 1/4 in.) (max.)
Art Institute of Chicago, Kate S. Buckingham Endowment, 1955.2214

Ritual Vessel Representing a Woman Carrying a Vessel (Aryballos) and Nursing a Child
Chimú-Inca, Lambayeque Valley, north coast, Peru
A.D. 1200/1450
Ceramic and pigment
23.9 x 18.4 cm (9 3/8 x 7 1/4 in.)
Art Institute of Chicago, Kate S. Buckingham Endowment, 1955.2411

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Jun 08 2017

8mins

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Boli Ritual Object - Meaningful Materials (79)

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How do artists' choices of materials assign identity and meaning to works of art? How does meaning assign material? In this excerpt from one of my museum tours, I explore the meaningful materials in a Boli Ritual Object of the Bamana people in Mali, Africa. This recording comes complete with all the juicy, unscripted, live-action museum gallery accents including background chatter and beeping proximity alarms.

Permanent collection label:
Bamana sculpture often functions as a mediating force between the spirit and human realms. Ritual objects, such as this amorphously shaped boli, are commissioned and cared for by age-grade associations. A boli has a wood core wrapped with cotton cloth, into which spiritually charged packets are bound. Sacrificial materials, including animal blood and grains, are applied to its surface, giving it a crusty exterior. These sacrifices symbolize the layering of secret knowledge, imbuing the boli with nyama (life force). A boli is stored with other sacred objects in a shrine house and may only be seen by members of the association to which it belongs.

Image:
Ritual Object (Boli)
Bamana, Mali
Mid-19th/early 20th century
Wood, cloth, mud, and sacrificial material
H. 43.8 cm (17 1/4 in.)
Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harold X. Weinstein, 1961.1177

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May 19 2017

3mins

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African Nkisi Nkondi Power Figure - Meaningful Materials (78)

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How do artists' choices of materials assign identity and meaning to works of art? How does meaning assign material? In this excerpt from one of my museum tours, I explore the meaningful materials in a Nkisi Nkondi Power Figure of the Vili people in central Africa. This recording comes complete with all the juicy, unscripted, live-action museum gallery accents including background chatter and beeping proximity alarms.

Image:
Power Figure (Nkisi Nkondi)
Vili, Republic of the Congo or Democratic Republic of the Congo
Early/mid-19th century
Wood, metal, glass, fabric, fiber, cowrie shell, bone, leather, gourd, and feather
Art Institute of Chicago, 1998.502

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May 18 2017

4mins

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African Congo Kuba Mukenga Mask - Meaningful Materials (77)

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How do artists' choices of materials assign identity and meaning to works of art? How does meaning assign material? In this excerpt from one of my museum tours, I explore the meaningful materials in an African Congolese ceremonial mask of the Kuba Kingdom. This recording comes complete with all the juicy, unscripted, live-action museum gallery accents including background chatter and beeping proximity alarms.

Image:
Mask (Mukenga)
Kuba, Western Kasai region, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Late 19th/mid-20th century
Wood, glass beads, cowrie shells, feathers, raffia, fur, fabric, thread, and bells
Art Institute of Chicago, 1982.1504

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May 05 2017

6mins

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Black Figure vs Red Figure Ancient Greek Vase Painting Techniques (76)

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In this excerpt from one of my museum tours, I discuss the techniques of Greek vase painting and the differences between the black-figure and red-figure styles. We also dip a toe into some Greek history, talk about the names of Greek vase painters, artists signing their works, and compare Greek vase painters to the French Impressionists. This recording comes complete with all the juicy, unscripted, live-action museum gallery accents including background chatter, construction noises, and beeping proximity alarms.

Images:
Black-figure Belly-Amphora (Storage Jar) Showing Herakles Wrestling the Nemean Lion
Attributed to the Painter of Berlin 1686 or the Painter of Tarquinia RC 3984
Greek, Athens
c. 550-540 B.C.
Art Institute of Chicago, 1978.114

Hydria (Water Jar)
Attributed to The Leningrad Painter
Greek, Athens
c. 470/460 B.C.
Art Institute of Chicago, 1911.456

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Apr 22 2017

10mins

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Chinese Tang Funerary Figurines - Coloring the Past (75)

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Why are the heads, crowns, and hands of magnificent Tang Dynasty Chinese tomb figurines so startlingly bare compared to their brilliantly colored bodies? This is an excerpt from my gallery talk "Coloring the Past" in the Art Institute of Chicago from March 9, 2017. This recording comes complete with all the juicy, unscripted, live-action museum gallery accents of background chatter, beeping proximity alarms, and echoing reverb. Please forgive the poor sound quality. Terms: sancai, glaze, funerary, earthenware, ceramic, polychromy, pigment, paint, sculpture, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism.

Gallery Talk: Coloring the Past (American Sign Language-interpreted)
Art Institute of Chicago
March 9, 2017
"How does our modern lens shape the way we see ancient works of art? Explore the use, meaning, and manufacture of color in ancient art with museum educator Lucas Livingston. This gallery talk will be interpreted in American Sign Language."

Image:
Armored Guardian King (Tianwang) Trampling Demon
China, Tang dynasty (AD 618–907)
First half of 8th century
Earthenware, glaze, and pigment
Art Institute of Chicago, 1970.1069

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Apr 15 2017

3mins

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Etruscan Gigantomachy, Gods vs Giants - Coloring the Past (74)

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We examine the use of color in ancient art to designate role, status, nature, and more, and discuss causes for the disappearance of polychromy in ancient art. Side note: Why does the Egyptian God Osiris sometimes appear with black skin and sometimes with green skin? Names dropped: Zeus, Athena, Olympians, Giants, Gaia, Osiris. This is an excerpt from my gallery talk "Coloring the Past" in the Art Institute of Chicago from March 9, 2017. This recording comes complete with all the juicy, unscripted, live-action museum gallery accents of noisy kids, beeping proximity alarms, and echoing reverb. Please forgive the poor sound quality.

Gallery Talk: Coloring the Past (American Sign Language-interpreted)
Art Institute of Chicago
March 9, 2017
"How does our modern lens shape the way we see ancient works of art? Explore the use, meaning, and manufacture of color in ancient art with museum educator Lucas Livingston. This gallery talk will be interpreted in American Sign Language."

Image:
Architectural Relief Showing Gigantomachy (Battle Between Gods and Giants)
Etruscan, 3rd-2nd century BC
terracotta & pigment
Art Institute of Chicago, 1984.2

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Apr 07 2017

6mins

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Zeuxis and Parrhasius, Pliny the Elder, Roman Painting - Coloring the Past (73)

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Pliny the Elder shares with us the tale of dueling artists Zeuxis and Parrhasius as they battled for the title of who could paint a more beguilingly realistic trompe-l'oeil ("fools the eye") masterpiece. We also hear another short story of Zeuxis's dashed pride. This is an excerpt from my gallery talk "Coloring the Past" in the Art Institute of Chicago from March 9, 2017. This recording comes complete with all the juicy, unscripted, live-action museum gallery accents of noisy kids, beeping proximity alarms, and echoing reverb. Please forgive the poor sound quality.

Gallery Talk: Coloring the Past (American Sign Language-interpreted)
Art Institute of Chicago
March 9, 2017
"How does our modern lens shape the way we see ancient works of art? Explore the use, meaning, and manufacture of color in ancient art with museum educator Lucas Livingston. This gallery talk will be interpreted in American Sign Language."

Image:
Adriaen van der Spelt (Dutch, 1630-1673) and Frans van Mieris (Dutch, 1635-1681)
Trompe-l'Oeil Still Life with a Flower Garland and a Curtain, 1658
Oil on panel
18 1/4 x 25 1/8 in. (46.5 x 63.9 cm)
Inscribed lower left: van der Spelt.1658
Art Institute of Chicago, 1949.585

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Mar 31 2017

2mins

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Tinted Venus - Painted Aphrodite - Coloring the Past (72)

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Many sculptural works from the ancient world were once beautifully colored. This is an excerpt of my gallery talk "Coloring the Past" in the Art Institute of Chicago from March 9, 2017. Here we discuss the original polychromy of the famous Aphrodite of Knidos by Praxiteles and the 1862 Tinted Venus by English sculptor John Gibson. This recording comes complete with all the juicy, unscripted, live-action museum gallery accents of noisy kids, beeping proximity alarms, and echoing reverb. Please forgive the poor sound quality.

Gallery Talk: Coloring the Past (American Sign Language-interpreted)
Art Institute of Chicago
March 9, 2017
"How does our modern lens shape the way we see ancient works of art? Explore the use, meaning, and manufacture of color in ancient art with museum educator Lucas Livingston. This gallery talk will be interpreted in American Sign Language."

Image:
John Gibson (1790-1866)
The Tinted Venus, 1862
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
Photo by ketrin1407, 19 July 2012

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Mar 24 2017

4mins

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